Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Local CD Reviews

| April 27, 2007

The August scored some national buzz in 2005 with a spot on the Aware 11 compilation, though the group leans much closer to country than it does college rock on Thistle, Sparrow, And The Tall, Tall Grass. Female fronted songs such as “Drunken Picture” and “Sugar Mama” recall Nickel Creek or Dolly Parton, though there are unfortunately moments of more pedestrian fare (“Heartbreak On My Palm,” “Call You Up”). (
– Andy Argyrakis

The opening track on Carbonfour‘s second effort, Why Your Eyes No Longer Shine, evokes The Fixx with an emphasis on atmospheric keyboards and ringing guitars. But the band, led by singer Nels Stromborg, goes beyond that. The melodic “The Box You Made For Me” features Stromborg’s evocative vocals and guitarist Ian Scott’s inventive strumming. Two piano-based tunes add to Carbonfour’s highly polished approach. (
– Terrence Flamm

Chicago rock/soul singer Todd Carey returns home after an L.A. sojourn and does it strong with his latest CD, Watching Waiting. His guitar-driven pop rock and soul are better than most out there and are accessible enough to sell millions if given the chance. Carey has the writing chops to craft the hooks and the popstar voice to sing them, so what’s not to like? This is definitely mainstream stuff, but is very well done. (
– Mike O’Cull

Descriptive lyrics by singer Tom Winters draw listeners into Consortium‘s ambitious concept album, Potomac And Shenandoah, while the band plays tuneful Americana music. Winters’ stories range from the Civil War atrocities of “Harper’s Ferry” to the simple life of a modern couple in “By The Light – Part II.” Kip Rainey excels throughout on guitar, lap steel, and mandolin. (
– Terrence Flamm

Rough, raw, weird, and ragged describes Constant Velocity very well. They will draw obvious comparisons to Violent Femmes, but CV are more chromatic and modern indie to stand too long in the Femmes’ shadow. The band have an eclectic writing style that mixes grooves and key centers to great effect on their self-titled CD. If they remain this creative, they should be heard from again. (
– Mike O’Cull

With Belle Epoque, David Scott Crawford has created a grand, epic exposition of contemporary progressive pop. Flush with literate lyrics and baroque arrangements, Crawford stretches out on his Steinway on ornate, richly decorated pop songs like “Black Box” and “Water From The Well.” Crawford deftly weaves his artistic narratives through the layers of instrumentation so the melodies have space to breathe, and the density never feels cloying. (
– Patrick Conlan

Though they haven’t mastered the hook as well as their heroes Social Distortion, Chicago South Siders Dead Town Revival are damn close. The band’s latest, Hasta La Muerte, or “to the death,” has as many catchy choruses as it does songs about death and darkness. Although the guitars-first punk rock approach is more than derivative, this album is gritty and heartfelt and that goes a long way to making it a respectable release. (
– Joseph Simek

Grammy-nominated jazz singer Kurt Elling plays the role of storyteller on his romantic seventh album, Nightmoves (Concord). In hearty baritone, Elling strolls the listener through a personable repertoire of Betty Carter, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington classics. In a unique crossover gesture, he turns The Guess Who’s “Undun” into horn-punctuated smooth jazz. When the mood is right, Elling puts words to improvised solos. On “Body And Soul,” his songwriting opens doors to a cosmic mind unheard on the covers. (
– Mike Meyer

Chicago-based duo Elston (yes, named after the street) have been playing their brand of indie-acoustic-pop for nearly 10 years, and it definitely shows in their musical chemistry and songwriting ability on Strange Birds. Unfortunately they have yet to capture a sound that is unique or memorable. The title track and closer (“Man On Stilts”) show the most promise, with their injection of soul and energy, but the rest of the disc just plays as background music. (
– Carter Moss

The Eternals‘ hard-to-classify electro/ techno/dub/musique concrete sound returns full force in the local trio’s third long player, Heavy International. The 13th and final cut, “M.O.A.B,” is close as the group comes to a linear song, and the “on-a-dime” tempo/instrumentation changes and lyrical/vocal style that recalls early Mothers Of Invention of the other 12 makes this more a rave of the mind than body. (
– David C. Eldredge

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Category: Around Hear, Monthly

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